National Park Utrecht Hill Ridge, or Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a fantastic spot of nature right in the heart of the Netherlands. It’s is a 10,000ha area filled with woods, lakes, panoramic views and estates. Less than an hour from Amsterdam, this is the perfect location for rewinding and getting some fresh air. The park is perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Walking and cycling routes are being indicated by signs with different colors and numbers. Make sure to check which one(s) you want to follow at the easy-to-follow maps at the parking areas of the National Park.
There are different parking areas, called Green Entrees, which lead you directly into the heart of the National Park. It’s also possible to take the train to the villages in the park, or take a bus which takes you straight to the Green Entrees. We took our dog Finn with us and parked the car at the Amerongen Green Entree before starting our walk. We found a hike of about two hours that led us through the woods, over the hills and along the floodplains.
When looking for culture there is enough on offer as well. Castles and estates, such as Huis Doorn, Duurstede Castle and Amerongen Castle aren’t far and take you back into time. You also might stumble upon one of the luxurious estates during your walk or cycle tour.
For a true Dutch experience, treat your taste buds with pancakes from one of the ‘pancakehouses’ on offer, such as ‘t Berghuis, ‘t Jagershuys or Bergzicht. Dutch pancakes are typically larger, but much thinner than American pancakes (but thicker than French crepes). They can be eaten with sweet topping, such as fruit, powdered sugar or syrup, or can be enjoyed with hearty toppings, such as cheese or meat. Most pancakehouses are proud to offer pancakes made in the traditional way, and the restaurants at the Utrecht Hill Ridge are no exception. We sampled a raisin and apple pancake at ´t Berghuis, which is situated in the woods near the Amerongen Green Entree.
Finally, a visit to the canal-filled city of Utrecht is something you can’t miss out on, and I would definitely recommend staying there if you have the time. The possibilities are endless in this area and I for sure haven’t seen or done it all. And little Finn would love to go back one day too!
As always, all opinions and photos are my own.